Organoids and bioengineered intestinal models: Potential solutions to the Cryptosporidium culturing dilemma

Samantha Gunasekera, Alireza Zahedi, Mark O’Dea, Brendon King, Paul Monis, Benjamin Thierry, Jillian M. Carr, Una Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Cryptosporidium is a major cause of severe diarrhea-related disease in children in developing countries, but currently no vaccine or effective treatment exists for those who are most at risk of serious illness. This is partly due to the lack of in vitro culturing methods that are able to support the entire Cryptosporidium life cycle, which has led to research in Cryptosporidium biology lagging behind other protozoan parasites. In vivo models such as gnotobiotic piglets are complex, and standard in vitro culturing methods in transformed cell lines, such as HCT-8 cells, have not been able to fully support fertilization occurring in vitro. Additionally, the Cryptosporidium life cycle has also been reported to occur in the absence of host cells. Recently developed bioengineered intestinal models, however, have shown more promising results and are able to reproduce a whole cycle of infectivity in one model system. This review evaluates the recent advances in Cryptosporidium culturing techniques and proposes future directions for research that may build upon these successes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number715
Number of pages16
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (


  • Cryptosporidium
  • In vitro
  • Organ-on-a-chip
  • Organoid
  • Three-dimensional intestinal model


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